The Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser interactive hotel experience may be a bust, but it does involve some cool tech and toys. Like lightsabers. One thing that can never be doubted is the commitment of Disney Imagineers to push the boundaries of what is possible to create authentic experiences.


When the Star Wars-themed hotel was first announced, it was clear they were going to need to do something regarding lightsabers. Plastic poles and LED strips simply weren’t going to cut it.

So they created a retractable lightsaber that mimicked the action we all know and love from the movies, as revealed way back in 2021 at D23:

There was, however, a problem. They were flimsy, fragile, and temperamental. They were fine for actors to use to support the experience, but had to be handled with extreme care and could not even get close to being used for dueling.

It seems there have been some developments with this tech. Speaking at SXSW last week, Disney Parks and Experiences chairman Josh D’Amaro revealed a closer look at one of these “real” lightsabers, and observers noted he handled it significantly less gingerly than the original models, and it appeared to have been updated.

D’Amaro was joined on stage by Leslie Evans, head of R&D for Disney Imagineering, on-stage. She said:

“This was a hard project, this was not easy.”

You can see the lightsaber doing its thing in the real world in the video below.

It’s easy to be generally down on Star Wars at the moment, given the poor quality of a lot of the output, but no matter where you are or how much of a fan you still are, that was cool!

If I had one of those, I would never grow tired of whipping it out and making it extend.

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